Starting on 11/28 WWK presents original short stories by some of our authors. Here's our lineup:

11/28 Debra H. Goldstein, "Thanksgiving in Moderation"

12/5 Annette Dashofy, "Las Posadas--A New Mexico Christmas"

12/12 Warren Bull, "The Thanksgiving War"

12/19 KM Rockwood, "The Gift of Peace"

12/26 Paula Gail Benson, "The Lost Week of the Year"

If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at

November Interviews
11/6 Barbara Ross, Nogged Off
11/13 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
11/20 Lois Winston, Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
11/27 V. M Burns, Bookmarked For Murder

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
11/2 V. M. Burns
11/9 Heather Redmond
11/16 Arlene Kay

WWK Bloggers: 11/23 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: or at Amazon:

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Autumn is in the Air

I know Autumn doesn’t officially start until September 23 this year, but in Iron County, Michigan all the attributes of the season have already commenced.

The first avian harbinger of Autumn I usually notice each year is the gathering of Northern flickers along the dirt roads. When they fly at the car’s approach they have very distinctive white rump patches. At the end of summer we start to see them every time we travel the gravel roads into town. Shortly before the official autumnal equinox they will be gone, catching a favorable wind for their journey south.

This year, we had the delight of hosting nesting Sharp-shinned hawks. We witnessed the whole process from dating to mating to roosting to fledging and now leaving. Because Sharpies feed on songbirds, we took down most of our feeders for the summer. The parents raised two offspring. By mid-August, the parents had already flown, but the kids were still around—and they were NOISY. Then, one day the last week of August I didn’t hear them; the kids were gone, following their parents on their migration south.

Hummingbirds delight us each year and by the end of summer we have five feeders out and often need to fill them daily. [Y’all know I’m not much of a cook, but I know many of our readers appreciate good recipes, so I’ll share mine for hummingbird food: Bring eight cups of water to a rolling boil; stir in two cups of sugar until dissolved; turn off the heat and let cool. That’s it. No need for food coloring or those expensive store mixes, but if you’re like us, you will go through many pounds of sugar in a season. The recipe is scalable: just keep the four-to-one ratio of water to sugar.] Sometime in the last week of August almost all the hummers disappear. We’ll go from filling feeders daily to not needing to fill them at all. We’ll still probably host a couple of hummers for another week or ten days. These might be migrants from farther north who have found our feeders along the path of their own migration.

Considering how far birds fly on migrations and, unlike us, they rely on self-propulsion rather than fossil fuels, it’s not surprising how much they eat before they take off for their long trip. I’ve never banded hummingbirds, but I have banded many passerine species. The hollow area in their throat fills to overflowing with yellow fat as they prepare to migrate. After a night’s flying without rest, they land with those energy reserves exhausted. If you are bird watching, they are easy to see after they first land because they do not move much for a while. Soon, however, they’re flitting around, all about the business of restoring their fat reserves so they can make the next leg of the trip.

Asked what they think of when they contemplate Autumn, many people talk about the leaves turning colors. In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the first plants to turn are the ferns. Already some have browned up and within the next couple of weeks all the ferns will turn from their vibrant greens to dull browns and then eventually lay down on the ground to provide sustenance to the next generation. It’s not relevant to this blog (which already has a meandering thread) but if you want to know how ferns reproduce, here is a link

Stressed trees start to turn in August. They may be stressed by disease or old age or by not having forest surround them, which is why colors often first appear at the edges of fields or along roads. I tend to notice maple leaves first, perhaps because they turn orange or red. Even though peak color for us is still two or three weeks away, we’re starting to see the stressed trees with branches or tops in full color.

With Autumn comes cooler weather. The lakes stay warm for a while, the nights are cool, and the combination produces fog. Every morning for about a month we’ll have fog. When the night cools significantly the fog will be worthy of the Maine coast, so thick you lose your hand if you stretch your arm to full length. I’ve learned to avoid early morning appointments this time of year. Usually the sun will burn the fog off by midmorning. Usually…

What lets you know that Autumn is in the air?

~ Jim


Gloria Alden said...

Jim, our autumn hasn't quite started yet, but there are signs that start in late August. Some birds like the red-eyed vireo appear, and others that have been too busy caring for their second brood, now seem more vocal. Also, fungi start popping up in the woods and in my lawn. I only fill one hummingbird feeder, but with my extensive flower gardens and all the flowering weeds, too, one lasts for almost a week. The one I just filled may be the last of the season since they will be starting to head south soon, too. I didn't realize that the few trees that start to turn colors a little earlier are stressed. Maybe because of all the rain I've had and am still getting, my trees are a little happier.

James Montgomery Jackson said...


Our final two hummers left several days ago and should be to you by now. I gave them detailed directions!

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

In Northern VA, I don't have the sense of nature that I did growing up in PA or now, in NC. What I notice are changes in light and temperature. This summer has been weirdly cool, so dips in temperature haven't been noticeable. In NC, when fall rolls in, I notice flocks of birds migrating over the Outer Banks. Here--fall arrives when I reach for jeans to put on instead of shorts. That hasn't yet happened, but soon it will.

Kara Cerise said...

In my urban area I know that autumn is on the way when school busses start making the rounds, Congress is back in session, and the roads get even more clogged than normal. Also, squirrels begin hiding food (some of it courtesy of the little girls down the street) in my planters.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

School buses work in some areas, in others (such as Kentucky) they start school at the beginning of August!

Critters storing food for the winter works in both urban and rural settings -- as do mice starting to make indoor nests.

~ Jim

Sarah Henning said...

You know, the temperature dropped Saturday and suddenly I HAD to bake something with pumpkin in it. It's funny how a sudden crispness in the air can change a mindset so quickly.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Oh yes, pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread -- YUM

~ Jim